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Richard Piatt ReportingA majority of Utahns feel President Bush won Thursday’s debate. That's according to an exclusive post-debate poll for Eyewitness News by Survey USA.
In a state with so many George W. bush supporters, it may not surprise you that most people in this state feel the President 'won' this debate. Survey USA caught 434 registered voters right after the debate. 44 percent of those people statewide say President Bush clearly won. 29 percent told the survey they thought Kerry clearly won. But 26 percent said there was no clear winner.
And those voters say tonight's debate didn't change very many voters' minds either. 81 percent are unmoved after watching the debate. Even so, we found people consider the debate an extremely important part of the Presidential campaign.
Sunni and Aaron Thompson were two of the millions of Americans watching this debate with critical eyes---but different opinions too. Sunni is a Republican; Aaron is a Democrat. Both agree on one thing: that President Bush appeared less aggressive---perhaps frustrated compared to Senator Kerry in the debate. But it's not changing either of their minds.
Sunni Thompson, Bush Supporter: "I do believe that Kerry seems to be more prepared than Bush, but I really believe in Bush's responses."
Aaron Thompson, Kerry Supporter: "He looks like he's completely frustrated, completely off his game, and that's not good."
There are similar impressions---Kerry more prepared; Bush on his heels-- at an informal 'debate party' in Salt Lake's Upper Avenues neighborhood. But aside from how the candidates appeared, what they're both saying is important to this crowd, too.
Kami Kahler, Undecided Voter: “I’m on the fence. I don’t know where I’m going. But they’re not answering the questions I want answered. It’s all about the war.”
Trey O'Neal, Undecided Voter: “I think this does give me some perspective on them both on a somewhat even playing field.”
There are people who change their minds, based on the debates. So, who's getting the votes? Of the small number of Utahns---62--who said the debate did change their minds, 40 percent said they switched from Kerry to Bush. 53 percent said they switched from Bush to Kerry.
There are still more debates and time for people to scrutinize the candidates and change their minds again before Election Day.